Tag: blake’s 7
Welsh actor Gareth Thomas, best known among genre fans as rebel leader Roj Blake in the BBC series Blake’s 7, passed away yesterday at the age of 71.
Thomas trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, after which he became an associate member. He made many television appearances, receiving two BAFTA nominations. He also appeared on stage in several Royal Shakespeare Company productions, including Twelfth Night and Othello, and many other productions, including 2010’s Desire Under the Elms.
On his Blake’s 7 role, he’s often said that he never watched an episode, and even left the show after the second season, apart from a couple of guest appearances. However, he would later turn back to the role in several Big Finish audio productions.
However, I remember him most from a role just prior to Blake – from a series called Star Maidens. While staying a few weeks with family in England I caught this series, and the memory of it stayed with me for a long time…you can read my Retro Review of the show from 2008.
For those of you like me who have been eagerly waiting for years for a remake of the classic British SF series Blake’s 7, but where Georgiaville’s attempt would wither away after Syfy passed on it last year, and then with it rumored to be looked at by Microsoft for its fledgling XBox Live Network but Microsoft deciding last month to close Xbox Entertainment Studios, there is still hope that our band of rebels will return to take down the Federation.
The Nerdist released today some exclusive concept art for the production, and I confirmed with Leon Clarance, the executive producer for Blake’s 7 (and the upcoming Sense8) that they are from his production.
I agree with the Giger-esque look. Especially with the interior of the Liberator, I immediately through of the Nostromo from Alien, with the dark industrial look leading to the ultra-white corridor to Mother. The ship itself retains the “tristar” design, but looks far more industrial and as if it was build up over time and for many different purposes.
I might miss the beauty of the original though. In the original story, a derelict spaceship is encountered by a prison transport ship after an apparent battle in space. Blake, a political prisoner sentenced to life on a prison planet, along with a group of other prisoners, is sent over to secure the ship after several crewmembers were killed. Instead, Blake and the rest steal the ship and wage a guerrilla war against the oppressive Federation. The Liberator itself was highly advanced…faster than any Federation ship, with an intelligent computer system named Zen that was annoyingly stingy on information, saying, “Knowledge must be earned.” It had automatic repair systems so that an experienced crew was not needed. And it had a matter transport system the Federation didn’t have, with some interesting limitations. The beauty of the ship fit in with the mystery of its origin (which I thought was given too early in the show), and I was quite sad when it eventually met its fate.
I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, but just wanted to confirm…there were rumors a couple months ago that Syfy had passed on the Blake’s 7 remake, and that it was possibly being looked at for Microsoft for XBox Live, but I could find no credible sources.
Well, I spoke directly with Mark Stern, President of Original Programming at Syfy and Co-Head of Original Content for Universal Cable Productions, and asked him about Blake’s 7. He said that they did indeed pass on it, and had heard the same about Microsoft, but didn’t know anything more than I did.
Tweets from Georgiaville’s Leon Clarance as recent as last month did seem to indicate that it is indeed still in development, but I have been unable to get any further info yet. Hopefully we will learn something soon, but sometimes it can take a couple years of development before production can begin.
I’m just learning of reports that the remake of the classic British SF series Blake’s 7 from Georgiaville Television, which I’ve been asking for years, is no longer in development at Syfy, but may be nearing a series order from Microsoft, of all companies, to become one of the first original series offered over the Xbox Live service.
Xbox Live may also get the Halo series long in development at Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV.
I’ve been waiting for a Blake’s 7 remake for, well, since I first saw Blake’s 7 – heck, I advocated a remake back in 2001. Last year things started to look more real for it actually happening when Georgiaville TV took to the reins and started development for Syfy.
Today it was was being shopped around at MIPTV in Cannes for international outlets, but what it perhaps notable is who was doing it – FreemantleMedia, best known for various reality and competition series bu whose name seems to be popping up in everything lately.
What we did get from the pitch synopsis is a few more details…Blake is a former soldier and had a wife, but she is deceased (no mention of a wife was made in the original), and it is set in the year 2136. The plan is for 13 episodes.
Here is a full synopsis – and perhaps the first time I’ve seen the word “amazeballs” used in a business setting…
Here are some of the big and our favorite stories we covered in 2012…
Georgiaville Television appears to be the hot ticket in town…now Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, is teaming with the studio for The After, a thriller which involved a mysterious, unexplained event (haven’t we seen this several times already?) and will include science fiction and suspense elements.
Georgiaville is also producing the Blake’s 7 remake for Syfy, a pandemic drama now titled Hunters with J. Michael Straczynski for ABC, and the recently announced Wachowskis/JMS supernatural series Sense8.
If you’ve followed me these 12 years, there are two series I’ve really wanted to see remade – Space: 1999, which is in the works with Jace Hall (and my main requirement there is they keep the production design of the base, Eagles, etc.), and Blake’s 7, which was recently being shopped to U.S. networks by Georgiaville Television.
Now Syfy has stepped up and will develop the remake with a script-to-series commitment (if they like the script, it will get a 13-episode green light). Joe Pokaski (CSI, Heroes) is writing the script, and Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Green Lantern) will direct.
I can’t wait to grill the Syfy executives on this one…
If you know me, Blake’s 7 is one of the shows at the top of my reboot list, probably right below Space: 1999…well, it seems like someone is working on it – Georgeville Television, a new independent TV studio, is working with producer Marc Rosen to develop a reboot of the British cult SF TV series! They are teaming up with director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Green Lantern), who will direct the reboot pilot, and Joe Polaski (CSI, Heroes) will write the script. Of course, we heard of plans back in 2008 that were later scrapped, but let’s hope this gets more traction.
Blake’s 7 followed a group of escaped criminals, led by Roj Blake, a political dissenter who was convicted on false charges. They manage to take control of an extremely advanced alien spaceship, dubbed “The Liberator”, and they fight against the oppressive Federation while also dealing with their own internal struggles. The BBC production ran for 4 series from 1978 to 1981, despite losing their star and title character (played by Gareth Thomas) at the end of the second series along with several cast changes.
The past few weeks I finished off going through my Blake’s 7 VHS collection with Series 4, the final season of the BBC show. You’ve already lost your title character, now what are you going to do without your ship, arguably one of the “7” characters? Read More for thoughts on the final season.